At the beginning of January, I hopped on a plane in Houston to head back to Africa to begin another two-year stint in South Sudan. During my time in the States, I was repeatedly asked why I chose to return to South Sudan, even after all of the unrest and moving around I had experience in my first two-year term. I was asked why would I return to one of the most unstable countries in the world instead of remaining in America. Why would I choose to return to a place where there is war, famine, little development or infrastructure, and a tanking economy. Hadn’t I done enough and had enough adventure from my first two years in South Sudan? Wasn’t it time to move on with my life?
Many people assumed that I must have received extremely strong calling from the Lord to prompt me to return. However, in my decision to stay in South Sudan, there was no voice from heaven or vivid dream. No strong word of knowledge, other than that the Lord wasn’t calling me to go anywhere else.
When I left Houston two and half years ago, it was clear from the Lord that He wasn’t calling me to live in Houston; he was calling me to live in South Sudan. Before that, I thought I was called to live in America, although I now realize that I had never actually asked Him. Right now the Lord isn’t telling me to go anywhere else; not to Houston, France, Japan, or any other place. He is telling me to stay where I am, and I count myself extremely blessed to have been gifted with a love for the people with whom I live. Two years from now, who knows where He’ll lead. Maybe He will say to stay, maybe to head back to America, or maybe He’ll lead me to a completely different nation.
So, just as people questioned why I chose to return to live in South Sudan, I would like to challenge you to ask yourself the same question: why do you live in where you do? Did the Lord call you where you are or is that just where you randomly ended up? Have you sought His face on where He wants you to be? Is He leading you to live in suburbia, the city, the country, or abroad? Is He telling you to stay put where He currently has you, or to uproot your life and follow Him where He leads? Whatever He is asking of you, although it may not be easy, pain free, or even logical in a human sense, it will be good and beautiful because He is always good, and He calls us to things that are greater than what we could ever imagine.
I think the song “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin says it well, and I pray that the lyrics will ring true in all of our hearts.
Where you go I’ll go
Where you stay I’ll stay
When you move I’ll move
I will follow you
All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
I will trust in you alone